Cutaneous lymphocyte antigen expression on human effector B cells depends on the site and on the nature of antigen encounter

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Abstract

In contrast to T cells, information on skin-homing B cells expressing the cutaneous lymphocyte antigen (CLA) is sparse. CLA expression on human B cells was investigated among circulating immunoglobulin-secreting cells (ISC) and among antigen-specific antibody-secreting cells (ASC) elicited by parenteral, oral or rectal primary immunization, or by parenteral or oral secondary immunizationwith Salmonella typhi Ty21a. CLA expression was examined by combining cell sorting with an enzyme-linked immunospot assay. Among all ISC, the proportion of CLA+ cells was 13–21%. Parenteral immunization induced antigen-specific ASC of which 13% were CLA+, while oral and rectal immunizations were followed by only 1% of CLA+ ASC (p<0.001). Oral re-immunization was followed by an up-regulation of CLA (34–48%) regardless of the route of priming. Parenteral re-immunization elicited ASC of which 9–14% were CLA+. In conclusion, the expression of CLA on human effector B cells depends on the site of antigen encounter: intestinal stimulation elicits cells with no CLA, while parenteral encounter elicits significant numbers of CLA+ cells. Even though primary antigen encounter in the intestine failed to stimulate CLA expression, up-regulation of CLA was found upon intestinal antigen re-encounter. These findings may be of relevance in the pathogenesis of some cutaneous disorders.

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